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Journalists Butchering Science...Again: Red Meat and Colon Cancer

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posted on May, 28 2011 @ 03:46 PM
Here's the latest....

Red meat 'increases risk of bowel cancer'

EATING less red meat could prevent 6000 cases of Australia's second deadliest cancer every year, experts claim. They say studies confirm that consuming roast beef, lamb and pork increases your risk of developing bowel cancer.

That's a pretty bold and condemning statement, right? Where are they getting these numbers from?

The article continues...

The World Cancer Research Fund [WCRF] said there was convincing evidence of a link between bowel cancer and red meat in its latest report, which combines existing research with 10 new studies.

Ah. I see. Let's take a look at the WCRF report, which can be found here:

WCRF/AICR Systematic Literature Review
Continuous Update Project Report (PDF)

Scroll all the way down, through this massive document, to page 157 and you'll find a nice summary of the studies included in the first review:

Sixteen* cohort studies on colorectal, or if not available colon cancer risk were identified. Eleven studies provided sufficient data to be included in the highest versus lowest analysis. Nine studies reported an increased risk for the highest versus lowest processed meat comparison, one were statistically significant. One study observed no association. In addition, positive associations were observed in men, and in women in the study that reported on the subgroups separately. Only the result in men was statistically significant.

So...out of 16, only 11 were sufficient. Out of the 10 studies that showed an increased risk, only 1 was statistically significant. The remaining study showed no association. Also, it was only men who showed an significant increase.

Okey Dokey. Surely there's more convincing data? Let's see...

Twelve cohort studies on colorectal cancer risk were identified and included in the highest versus lowest forest plot. Eight studies reported an increased risk for the highest versus lowest red meat comparison, one was
borderline significant. Two studies reported no association and two studies observed a statistically non-significant inverse association.

Here we go again. Eight studies showed an increase in risk, but only one was BORDERLINE significant. Two studies showed nothing at all and two reported that red meat decreased the risk of colorectal cancer.

Fail #2.

You see...Scientists report the data:

Tons of inconsistent data that slightly report an increased risk colorectal cancer when red meat is consumed; however, the ambiguity of the data as a whole warrants more research on the subject.

...and journalists spin into giant headlines:

Red meat makes you dead meat! New study shows eating red meat causes colorectal cancer.

...and then the public, and public health authorities, run with it.

Look, if you don't believe the data to be inconsistent, take a look at this nice meta-analysis:

Meat and fat intake and colorectal cancer risk: A pooled analysis of 14 prospective studies

In conclusion, these prospective data do not support a positive association between higher red meat and fat intake and colorectal cancer risk. Higher intake of poultry and fish may be associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Ambiguity often times suggests there to be a null association. In other words, red meat neither increases nor decreases colorectal cancer risk. It suggests that there is another cause.

Another problem with these types of analyses are their lack of an arrow of causation. A may be associated with B, but that doesn't mean that A causes B. B could be causing A. And A,B could be caused by C. Remember, correlation does not equal causation.

Let's also not forget that, often times, these studies are lacking in quality. Red meat isn't properly defined. Is it processed, pastured, fresh, frozen, pork, beef, lamb???? What is it? And how are we supposed to rely on surveys and questionnaires as being accurate? Even if people are being truthful and honest, they tend still tend to be inaccurate when recalling food consumption.

Anyway, let's continue disecting the atrocious article at hand...

Milk appears to cut the risk of bowel cancer, but the WCRF does not recommend dairy foods because evidence for overall cancer risk is unclear.

Milk cuts the risk and yet, because of other claims (based on even more ambiguous data), we're told not to consume milk. Ok???

The high fat content of processed or marbled meat caused obesity, which was a major contributor to bowel cancer

This is absolutely baseless and unsupported by the data. Study after study has shown that total fat in the diet is not an indicator of obesity. doesn't make sense biochemically to accuse fat in red meat of causing obesity (red meat fat, by the way, is 1/2 oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat found in olive oil...depending on the source). And consider the fact that, over the last 30-40 years or so, Americans have reduced their red-meat intake and yet we're getting fatter (NHANES).

The point of this post is not to prove anything except...

Journalists are, generally, not reporting the whole truth, if any truth at all. They sensationalize a subject on which most of us rely for good health. If you want to know what scientists truly think, or what the data truly suggest, learn some medical terminology/ journal writing and go to the source: THE ACTUAL STUDY
edit on 28-5-2011 by DevolutionEvolvd because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 03:49 PM
Theres not a week goes by that in our tabloid papers 'experts says' this food or drink is bad for you, then the next week 'experts say' its good for you. Repeat repeat.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 03:50 PM
reply to post by EnigmaAgent

It's because experts aren't saying that...


posted on May, 28 2011 @ 03:55 PM
I am so incredibly annoyed with all these "x is good for you and y totally isn't" articles.

First it is reported that an occasional glass of wine or beer might not be bad for you. Then, a glass of red wine every night is actually good for you! And then, out of nowhere, a report insists that any amount of alcohol is extremely bad for you.

Someone reports that eggs are bad for you because of the cholesterol. Everyone immediately jumps on the egg-substitute bandwagon. Shortly after, only the yolks are bad for you. And just a little after that, eggs are actually good for you because they contain good cholesterol.

That's why I never paid attention to these "discoveries" (apart from the obvious ones such as "don't eat moldy stuff"). I eat what I like, I like what I eat, and that's the end of the story.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 03:56 PM
That's not a new claim. I've had colon polyps since i was a teenager and was told back then to reduce my red meat intake. Once doctor even said avoid it completely. I'm not much for red meat anyway so that wasn't a problem for me. Didn't make a difference either. I still get polyps removed every two years.

If you want a really healthy colon, stop eating black pepper. It sticks to the walls of your colon like cement. And it wouldn't hurt to do a cleansing every few years. It's not fun to do it, but your intestines will be squeaky clean. No more of that nasty build up.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 04:00 PM

Originally posted by Whipfather
And just a little after that, eggs are actually good for you because they contain good cholesterol.

There's no such thing as good cholesterol. Cholesterol is cholesterol. HDL is considered "good" cholesterol, when, in fact, it's not cholesterol at all. It's a lipoprotein.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 04:01 PM
reply to post by Under Water

I realize it's not a new claim. It's also not an accurate claim.

But the point of this post was to show just how sensationalized health journalism can be.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 04:07 PM
I say your body knows what it needs best. Start listening to your body! If something feels good to eat, if you feel nourished, energetic, and full of life after eating something continue on, if not then on to the next thing.

All these studies are poorly broken down by journalist, who in fact are just searching for that interesting sounding headline so that people will read their articles.

Your body knows best. If you feel like crap after eating a greasy mcdonalds burger and fries, that is your body telling you to not eat that again. These articles do nothing but confuse us, they're always contradicting themselves a year later or even sooner.

We have all of the knowledge built in our DNA, and our body is continually trying to tell us what it needs, but we're not very good at listening to it sometimes. Every'body' is different, so every'body' will have different needs and tell each person what it individually needs. There is no perfect dietary blueprint for humanity.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 04:11 PM
reply to post by Under Water

That black pepper part is interesting. Supposedly black pepper can be used to stop a leaky radiator. Makes sense then, lol.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 04:22 PM
You'll always hear conflicting MSM reports, read between the lines, and study.
Red meat is best when not eaten every day, I believe also studies point to that and cultural diets. Lean meat, as well as not eating red meat every day, diets seem to fair the best for most people who choose to eat meat.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 04:31 PM

Originally posted by dreamingawake
Lean meat, as well as not eating red meat every day, diets seem to fair the best for most people who choose to eat meat.

How so? Are you saying it's the fat content in red meat that is deleterious? I would argue that red meat is much healthier than eating muscle meats, like chicken breast, that are extremely lean.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 04:35 PM

Originally posted by DevolutionEvolvd
reply to post by EnigmaAgent

It's because experts aren't saying that...


And such people are usually the very same people to like to call themselves "experts".

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 04:37 PM
reply to post by juleol

Wait...are you saying Journalists think they are all experts?

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 05:02 PM
reply to post by DevolutionEvolvd

I'm a hunter. I love red meat. I also eat a primarily vegetable diet, and occasionally supplement my diet with animal protein simply because vegetables don't contain vitamin B12. Vegetarian diets (containing the right balance of vitamins and minerals) are far more healthy than the standard American diet. If you don't believe me, simply recall all that you've heard about different health benefits of food. With the exception of omega 3 fatty acids in fish (which also contain a lot more unhealthy fats usually, and often highly contaminated with heavy metals) you will only hear about health benefits from vegetables.
For a much better scientific study on the benefits of vegetables, and the detrimental affects of too much animal protein, check out The China Study.
From personal experience, I can't tell you anything about cancer thankfully, however I can attest to the fact that a proper diet can do wonders for your health in general. Since I cut my animal product and processed food intake to almost nothing, I've gained so much energy and strength it's ridiculous.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 05:07 PM
reply to post by Q:1984A:1776

No, thanks. I've read that book. T. Collin Campbell is an idiot. Anybody who says, "Anymore than 0g of cholesterol is unhealthy." is an idiot.

He bases part of his book on the actual China Project, which, if you take a hard look at it, actually isn't as damning to animal projects as you might think. In fact, the most detrimental food type observed was........ wheat. Campbell, purposefully or not, misrepresents the data and cherry picks his references.

No, thanks.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 05:42 PM

Originally posted by DevolutionEvolvd
reply to post by Q:1984A:1776

In fact, the most detrimental food type observed was........ wheat.

I learned of the damning evidence against consuming wheat from studies done by Weston Price.

My experience may not be the same as others, but while experimenting with my own diet I have found wheat and corn to be toxic to my system. More often than not I eat a vegetarian diet, but even after abstaining for several years meat has never caused me observable health problems when eaten with a variety of other foods.

I do wonder about antibiotics in meat killing digestive flora...
edit on 28-5-2011 by JohnnyTHSeed because: edit: nice wordplay in the title Devo.. butchering lol

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 08:22 PM
Didnt OP start a similar thread a few weeks back? im sensing some kind of personal quest to justify your carnivorous appetite.
you may be able to trick yourself into thinking what your doing is right and healthy, but its hard to argue the facts.
humans have a digestive tract too long to evacuate meat before it rots
without weapons humans cant access fresh meat, hence unnaturally gained, and unnaturally consumed
meat is covered in bacteria, it causes illness
meat contains multiple and varied types of parasites and foodborne illnesses
wrong teeth setup for meat, true carnivores have different jaw structure as well
fingernails do not equall claws
that being said i am fully aware people do eat meat and not drop dead, its the cumulitive effects that will get you.
how truly ignorant to deny meat rots in your body and causes illness, shame on you OP.
if you cant come to terms with your lifestyle, change it.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 10:09 PM
reply to post by SuperGenuis

Fact: According to Miriam Webster dictionary, Rot is defined as:

a : to undergo decomposition from the action of bacteria or fungi

Since you have no clue of digestive physiology and biochemistry, I'll clue you in. The only thing that rots in the human digestive system is......plant matter. More specifically, dietary fiber (like cellulose). The indigestion fiber is fermented by microbes in the gut. Problem is...we're not rumenants; therefore we're unable to efficiently digest it. So....its green leefy vegetables that rot in your gut, my friend.

Fact: Wild plants, especially fruits, are bitter, poisonous and, generally, require foraging for most of the waking hours. It's energetically inefficient.

Fact: The longest living people on earth, centenarians, regularly consume meat. Some, like the pre-westernized Alaskan inuit, survive almost entirely on animal products.

Please stop tolling my threads. When you'd like to participate in intelligent debate....bring something of substance.

edit on 28-5-2011 by DevolutionEvolvd because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 10:16 PM
It's because they want us to stop desiring meats, and fish, you see. So they can get us hooked on Soylent Green, you see?

Experts say Soylent Green is healthier than standard vegetarian diets, and can be made to taste like meat. Amidst growing concerns, scientists have concluded, that the experts say, in an undocumented study, of the opinions of our unqualified journalists, that our interns wrote because we were lazy, is that....

Nevermind, news at 11, here's our pharmaceutical sponsors, all of which the side-effects are DEATH or THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE.
edit on 28-5-2011 by SyphonX because: (no reason given)

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